As many folks who read the site know, we cover a lot of genre and fantasy-based material on Geek Hard. Whether it’s sci fi, horror, comic books, superheros or fantasy, we’ve got you covered. But man does not live on genre alone. Sometimes it’s nice to watch a film or a television show set in a reality we can relate to. That’s why it’s always fun when I get the chance to review a show like 19-2, the new Bravo original series premiering tonight at 9 p.m. on Bravo and then airing again tomorrow night at 10 p.m. on CTV. An English-Language adaptation of the popular French Canadian series, the show focuses on two cops patrolling the streets of Montreal. The action is heavy as is the drama that each man is going through in both their personal and professional lives. When I say cops series, most might think of a police procedural but that is not the case. This show is more of a character driven drama that uses the 19th Precinct as it’s backdrop. As I sat down to watch the first two episodes, I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. What I got was a smart and accessible show that was able to surprise me more times than I thought it would.
In the series premiere, we’re introduced to Nick Barron (played by Adrian Holmes, last seen as Lt. Pike on Arrow), a veteran cop on the Metro detail. After an incident on the job involving his partner and a shootout with a perp in an empty warehouse, Nick has been away from the job but is now cleared for active duty. His first day back, he’s assigned a new partner, Ben Chartier (Jared Keeso of Falling Skies), a new transfer from the provincial police, originally stationed in a rural community. Barron isn’t too happy about it as he feels he’d work better alone. After the first day getting the cold shoulder, Chartier is not happy either and the two begin their partnership on uneasy ground. There’s no real time to fully get settled in as duty calls and Ben finds himself in a very tense situation involving a split-second decision which leads to an investigation. Episode 2 reveals that life does not get easier for either Ben or Nick as patrolling the streets is not always a cut and dry endeavour and both men have demons in their past that come back to haunt them. The two must find a balance both in their personal and professional lives and in their partnership. Easier said than done.
The first thing that jumped out at me about this show was the interesting pacing. For the most part, the story is fast paced and does a great job of delivering all the info a viewer needs in an economic amount of time. There are times when a scene slows down to give the proper emotional gravitas or story space needed but at no point does the pace change seem disjointed. As mentioned before, 19-2 is character driven so it’s not at the mercy of a police procedural show’s need to stay on point. Through a few carefully placed flashbacks and “visions” we get a clear picture of who both Officers Barron and Chartier are and what they’re running from individually. There’s also a lot of play with the “different worlds” angle of the series. Each man has a very different view of the world formed from their history on the job. Barron is a bit more rough around the edges and knows how “the street” works whereas Chartier has a “right and wrong – follow procedure” type attitude. That’s not to say that Ben can’t be an effective cop in a city environment as the first episode shows. It just means that each brings different eyes to the story. Their personal attitudes also comes from the “problems” that each man is trying to overcome. Both Adrian Holmes and Jared Keeso do a great job of keeping the level of drama within the characters while still making them feel like “real” people. This is something that cannot be said for all of the supporting cast.
The team backing up Holmes and Keeso on 19-2 is a mixed bag of character actors with varying degrees of success rate when it comes to delivery. Maxim Roy does a fine job of playing Detective Isabelle Latendresse who’s handling the investigation into Ben’s incident and also happens to be Nick’s estranged wife. It’s obvious that there’s a great deal that’s gone on between Nick and Isabelle that needs mending and she really plays the strain of that past in each scene with ease. Conrad Pla also gives a strong performance as Sargeant Julien Houle, the man in charge of making sure that Nick and Ben work well as a team. Much like Roy, his work is subtle and should be so. Benz Antoine, reprising his role as officer Tyler Joseph from the original Quebec series, and Dan Petronijevic as officer J.M. Brouillard also give solid performances as they fill archetype roles needed for a show like this. However, not everyone pulls their weight. Bruce Robert Ramsay is a little too predictable and at times over the top as District Commander Marcel Gendron and Tyler Hines is a bit too goofy as rookie cop Vince Légaré. But thanks to the strong showing from everyone else involved, these two performances can be mostly overlooked.
With a good chemistry between Holmes and Keeso in the main roles and a pace that gets to the action of the story fast, 19-2 proves to be off to a good start. While not the most original cops show I’ve ever seen, it definitely is an entertaining one and I recommend you check it out tonight on Bravo at 9 p.m. or on CTV tomorrow night at 10 p.m.
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